Monday, June 20, 2011

Music Journey: Dave Matthews Band - Live Trax Series 1 Review

As you may or may not know, I love Dave Matthews Band. I have set out this summer to listen to and review each of the 20 Live Trax concerts. You can read more here.

Here is the first review:

I forgot how much I dig this Live Trax. Being the first one it had to be one of main reasons that I have continued to buy almost every single Live Trax(all 20 of them) over the course of the last few years when this all started.

According to Wikipedia:

Live Trax Vol. 1 is the first release of the Dave Matthews Band's Live Trax series. This two-disc set was released on November 2, 2004 and features the band's live performance at the former Centrum Centre in Worcester, MA on December 8, 1998.

The show featured songs from all of the band's four albums at the time: Remember Two Things, Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, and the most recent Before These Crowded Streets. The five members of the Dave Matthews Band were joined by guitarist Tim Reynolds and keyboardist Butch Taylor throughout the duration of the show. Songs such as "Don't Drink the Water", "#41", and "The Last Stop" featured guest banjo player Béla Fleck in addition to the rest of the band. During "#41," saxophonist Jeff Coffin from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones guested with Béla and the rest of the band for a 20-minute jam which featured an interpolation of the Flecktones' song "Sojourn of Arjuna" off the album Left of Cool.

I am more of a DMB fan without Butch Taylor on the keyboard as I like the rock vibe and louder feel to the shows since his departure, but listening to this Live Trax and recently listening the deluxe Weekend On the Rocks 8 CD three night show I have forgotten how he brings a great vibe to the band.

Live Trax brings me back to the days of Leroi and Butch and the vibe is so much more chill and I love it.

Here is the setlist of the show
1 Seek Up
2 Linus and Lucy
3 Pantala Naga Pampa » Rapunzel
4 Satellite
5 Don't Drink the Water
6 Jimi Thing 7 Stay (Wasting Time)

Disc 2
1 #41
2 So Much To Say » Anyone Seen the Bridge?
3 Too Much
4 Drive In, Drive Out
5 Tripping Billies
6 I'll Back You Up
7 The Last Stop

This show starts off with Seek Up which is an 18 minute jam to start the show. What an opener! A great start to the show that really gets things going in the right direction.

However, the one downer to this show is the Linus and Lucy jam that follows. I like the little Charlie Brown solo, but not 7 minutes of it. Give me a about a minute or two and then move on to the next song. This is what I don't miss about Butch Taylor. To me this was 7 minutes of concert time that could have been added to any of the other great songs or more jam time with Bela Fleck.

I like the recovery of PNP into Rapunzel. I know it has been done over and over, but I love this combo and don't think it will ever get old to me. It just has a great summer vibe. I always sing at the top of my lungs to this one. The drums make me do that dumb finger drum playing thing that we concert goers do when jamming. The little Dave scream at the ~3:50 mark I love! It is the small things that make me love a show.

Satellite is Satellite and you know what you are getting with this song.

However, when he moves into Don't Drink the Water with Bela......WOW! Love it. Great jam with Bela on the banjo. A great pick up to the show. This is a great song without any guests, but having Bela just makes it better. Then he moves right into Jimi Thing which is a great transition. A 13 minute Jimi Thing jam works at this point in the show. My man Boyd tears up the violin on this song. Not only Boyd, but everyone in the band has their moment of glory to show off their skills. Timmy on guitar, Leroi, and the rest of the crew just jam this song out. I forgot how great this version of Jimi Thing really is. I am moving that song version to my DMB Fave playlist right now.

The show just does not slow down when from Jimi Thing it slides right into another favorite of mine, Stay. But, I must straight to the jam of all jams and of course I am talking about #41.

Bela Fleck joins the crew and this is one of the best jams. I cannot remember what other versions are out there in the LT series, but I don't know if this #41 jam will be beat. Leroi destroys the brass on this song. You also have Jeff Coffin joining which he shows why he is now added to the live crew after the death of Leroi. Adding a little banjo, Dave on guitar and of course the drumming is top notch quality I am not sure if there is 20 minutes of music that gets any better than this. The little banjo/guitar solo after the 8 minute mark is so cool. It almost makes you want to learn to play the banjo! The last thing I can say about this song is the end when Dave sings his little outro, "Maybe I will....." Words cannot do this song justice. Yes, this song moved over to my ultimate DMB Setlist playlist. Not sure if it will be topped and not sure where it will end up in my setlist, but I think it will last the next 19 Live Trax listens. Tough to outdo this version.

Quickly moving on to the rest of the show as I have rambled on quite a bit already, the band moves right into So Much To Say with an Anyone Seen The Bridge that I live. So Much is standard with every show, the The Bridge was very cool. I would love to hear this version live. They then move onto another standard of Too Much. Then they pack a one two punch with Drive In Drive Out which I just love the emotion followed by a great Tripping Billies.

He then slows things down with I'll Back You Up which I love this song. However, I would have liked to see him keep the energy level up with another big one, but I enjoy this song so I cannot complain too much. They then close the show with a stellar The Last Stop. A 20 minute rendition that blows the show up and brings everything to an amazing close.

That sums up Live Trax #1 for me. I am out and ready to move on to Live Trax #2.

Have you listened to Live Trax #1? If so, what are your thoughts? Until Next Time........
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